Music Affects On Our Pets
By Dr. Jeannie Thomason, certified animal naturopath and co-founder of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy.
Music has been found to support and promote health, physically, emotionally and mentally for animals.
Research supports its Music’s effectiveness in a wide variety of healthcare, educational and every day settings. In fact, the frequencies of the right sounds have been proven to lower heart rate, stabilize emotions and elevate mood in animals and humans alike.
“Since ancient times, music has been recognized for its therapeutic value. Greek physicians used flutes, lyres, and zithers to heal their patients. They used vibration to aid in digestion, treat mental disturbance, and induce sleep. Aristotle (373–323 BCE), in his famous book De Anima, wrote that flute music could arouse strong emotions and purify the soul. Ancient Egyptians describe musical incantations for healing the sick.” ~Dr. Assad Meymandi,The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in 2009.
And of course in Biblical times we read in Zephaniah 3:17 – “He will rejoice over you with joyful songs!” and 1 Samuel 16:23 “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” Then, in II Kings 3:15 “But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.”
Music therapy has been found to be helpful to:
Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
Promote Physical Rehabilitation
Harmonic music with pleasant sounding chords of piano, strings and cellos whose size and reverberating chamber produce tones that resonate within the body to provide overtones and undertones that resonate sympathetically. The higher purer tones of the flute create a sympathetic resonance which reverberates into deeper levels and the responses can be in the range of pure joy and happiness. These vibrational reactions in the body release hormones that rid the animal or person of stress, elevate their mood and provide a sense of well being.
Classical music definitely has a calming effect on animals, it is known to be effective to:
calm and soothe
calm during thunder storms
calm during and after surgery or sickness
aid in healing
aid sleeping disorders
aid in emotional stress when settling into a new home
soothe when being left alone (separation anxiety)
Composer, Robert Boyd states: “that all too often an animal’s ability to appreciate music is underestimated. Animals are very responsive to sound. Dogs are walking ears and noses and it is well known that they hear higher frequencies than humans. They have a better range of hearing not so much in the low frequencies, but in the high. You can drop a pin close enough to a cat and its ear will twitch towards that noise which you wouldn’t have heard at all.” Robert Boyd Music
Psychologist and animal behaviorist Deborah Wells undertook a research program in 2002 to determine the influence of five types of auditory stimulation on dogs: human conversation, classical music, heavy metal music, pop music, and a silent control (no music at all).
From Dr. Wells’s study, it was discovered that classical music had a marked soothing effect on dogs in animal shelters when compared to the other types of auditory stimulation. In the discussion section of her published research, Dr. Wells stated, “Classical music resulted in dogs spending more of their time resting than any of the other experimental conditions of auditory stimulation. This type of music also resulted in a significantly lower level of barking.
Alianna Boone, a harpist who plays for ill family pets and produced a CD “Harp Music to Soothe the Savage Beast” – conducted one of the few studies on harp music’s effect on animals. In 2000, she performed for recently hospitalized canines at a Florida veterinary clinic. The hour-long sessions immediately began to lower heart rates, ease anxiety, and respiration in most cases.
It is believed that the harmonic overtones in classical music work at a cellular level and reduce stress levels. It appears that dogs must hear at least three minutes of music for it to take effect. Generally at this point, most dogs will start to sit down. Within 10 to 20 minutes, most lie in a resting state with some sleeping soundly.
I personally have proven with my own dogs that classical music does calm and relax the dogs – especially when played during loud storms.
There are numerous CD’s and downloads of calming music available designed especially for calming anxious dogs. Why not give a couple a try?
Wells, D. L., et al. “The Influence of Auditory Stimualtion on the Behaviour of Dogs Housed in a Rescue Shelter.” Animal Welfare 11 (2002): 385-393
Wagner, S., et al. BioAcoustic Research & Development Canine Research Summary (2004).
There are also now numerous other CD’s and downloads of calming music available designed especially for calming anxious dogs. Why not give a couple a try?